On Tuesday afternoon, former Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George joined The Reality Check to discuss what it was like playing with the recently retired Derrick Mason in Nashville. Our conversation — I had the opportunity to fill-in for the under-the-weather Glenn Clark — delved into different areas, including his life after football.
As we have all unfortunately been privy to hearing and learning about, ex-NFL players have been going through a rough time in the real world. Whether it be brain trauma, self-inflicted deaths, or post-career financial, familial, or personal issues, an entire generation of former athletes are looking for answers.
Like with many issues, the majority of people assume a common answer to the problem. In the case of the NFL tragedies, brain trauma — stemming from years of brutal hits playing the game — is being blamed. Lawsuits, fan outrage, negative publicity, and demand for changes have arisen in recent years. The perception of the league takes a hit for every Mike Webster, Dave Duerson, and Junior Seau.
But is the narrative accurate? Should concussions and brain trauma be at the forefront of our ire towards the NFL governing bodies or is there much more to it?
Here’s what Eddie had to say when asked about his own health and the unfortunate status of the other retired players of his generation:
“It’s about guidance. You can try to blame it on concussions, but the bigger issue is providing, whether it’s counseling or a network or support, to help guys make that transition over. I hate to think that concussions are leading to it, but I don’t necessarily believe it. I think its more or less the transition and making it to a normal life. Football is a non-transferable skill into another career. It’s not about just being a football player. It’s about realizing all of your passions, all of your gifts, and realizing all of you who are…not just a football player.” –Listen to the full interview here.
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